China / Society

Young migrant workers optimistic about city life

By Pu Zhendong ( Updated: 2012-11-08 16:58

A survey has shown that over 60 percent of migrant workers anticipate becoming urban residents in the next 10 years, with equal pay, city welfare and urban housing being their top three concerns, China Youth Daily reported.

Of the 10,365 respondents, young people of the post-1990 generation accounted for 42.8 percent while the post-1980 generation made up another 45.2 percent. Of the respondents, 89.1 percent live and work in cities without hukou (ITALICS PLS), meaning a permanent residence permit to live in the city.

The younger generation view city work as a way to improve their skill set, earn better pay and have access to the opportunities of the outside world, according to the survey.

Wang Yuancheng, president of a training school for migrant workers in Tai'an, Shandong province says migrant workers of the new generation display more diversity in terms of cultural and spiritual appeals.

"They are more conscious of rights and democracy. They wish to participate in the construction of urban society," he says.

However, the harsh reality of urban life, such as the high cost of living, scarce cultural activities and unfair wages dim the prospect of their city dreams. According to the survey, most respondents see equal pay, city welfare and housing as criteria for being an urban citizen.

Ye Yumin, professor of Renmin University of China, says migrant workers of the new generation bear the hope of China's urbanization and absorbing them as citizens will help narrow the widening wealth gap.

Despite the obstacles, more than 60 percent of the respondents still feel positive about the next ten years. A lower threshold to low-cost housing, a solution to children's education problems and access to urban social security are among the top things they feel a city life will provide.

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